To the editors:
Your otherwise excellent and moving article by Robert McClory [“Children of the Holocaust,” July 6] contains an outrageous falsehood. Two quotations included in the article imply that Poles were equally responsible with the Germans for the Holocaust of WWII. It’s incredible that a conscientious journalist uses quotations which slander an entire nation, without at least questioning their historical accuracy.
One of the children of Holocaust survivors, Mr. Rizowy, admonishes Polish fathers (not German fathers!) for not telling their children about the genocide of the Jews, which “our people permitted.” If Poles “permitted” the murder of the Jews, they also “permitted” the slaughter of 3 million Christian Poles and other German atrocities, such as the forcible removal of 200,000 Polish children from their families, who were taken to Germany never to return.
Mr. Rizowy bears a terrible legacy, a heavy burden of tragedy which befell the generation of his parents. Why is it, that he feels no compassion for other victims of WWII, the Poles, who were also regarded as subhuman by the Nazis. It’s not a “passion for justice” that he feels, but rather an extreme hostility towards a people who never collaborated with the Germans and paid for their resistance with the loss of 17% of Poland’s population.
When another survivors’ son, Mr. Jelen, quoted in the same article, wonders about what a Pole of his parents’ generation may have been doing during the War, the answers are rather obvious. He may have been fighting the Germans on the streets of Warsaw with a bottle of gasoline, or may have been starving as a prisoner of a concentration camp, in a barrack a few meters away from the gas chambers where Jews were being killed.
Fortunately, there are numerous historical resources, many of them Jewish, which present a fair and accurate picture of the Nazi terror in Poland during WWII. It’s too bad that Mr. McClory and the gentlemen he interviewed felt no need to balance their account with some truths, for the sake of justice towards the many Poles who paid with their lives for harboring Jews.
Polish American Congress